Back to work, back to school, back to comforting bowls of food that make the dark evenings feel slightly less dreary…
The last thing anyone – myself included – wants on a grey January evening is to slave over pages of a cookbook, deciphering a complex recipe, only to face the mountain of washing up later one.
This one-pot meal creates something deceptively delicious from just a few simple ingredients. Apart from a little chopping, it only takes 12 minutes to cook. Often, if I ask my son George what he fancies for dinner, it is this recipe he requests, and I’m only too happy to oblige.
I’m the first to admit I was sceptical when I first started experimenting with all-in-one pasta dishes. It goes against all my cooking instincts to put the pasta in with the tomatoes, herbs and water. But don’t worry – they simmer together, softening and sweetening, to make an excellent sauce that is rich and soothing and delicious, not to mention far more natural than anything you’ll find inside a jar.
340g good quality dried linguine (cheap spaghetti will go gluey)
340g cherry or baby plum tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
2-3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
A pinch chilli flakes
2 whole sprigs of basil
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp sea salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1070ml cold water
Freshly grated parmesan cheese
A few torn fresh basil leaves
1. Place all the ingredients (except your parmesan and torn basil leaves) into a large, straight-sided pan
2. Bring to a boil over high heat
3. Boil the mixture, stirring and turning the pasta frequently until is cooked al dente and the water has nearly evaporated (11-12 minutes)
4. Leave it to rest for a minute and remove the basil stems
5. Serve sprinkled liberally with parmesan and your torn basil leaves
Tip: eat as soon as it’s ready or the starch in the pasta will make the sauce stiffen.